A new school for children with special educational needs is hoped to be opened by September 2021. The special ed school will provide 65 places for children, aged from five to 16 and will be a centre for pupils who have Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. The school will be part of a national initiative alongside the Department for Education in order to increase the range of education in Cornwall.

Cabinet Member for Children and Wellbeing, Sally Hawken, said: “This school will provide much-needed support and provision to some of the most vulnerable children in Cornwall.”

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs, are a type of education requirements for young people who have difficulty managing their emotions or behaviour. These educational requirements can make it hard for them to manage in a mainstream school setting.

The proposed school is part of a government plan to build 39 new free special education schools within the UK.

Hawken said: “Cornwall is geographically challenging and families who need this special provision can often find themselves travelling long distances to get the right kind of support. This new building will enable us to fill a gap in our current services – which will be a huge benefit to children and their families in Cornwall.”

Cornwall Council has located a site for the school in Bodmin which is still subject to planning permission. The location is preferable due to its proximity to the A30, which will make the school more accessible for children across Cornwall.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “We recognise some children require more specialist support. These new special free schools and alternative provision schools will make sure that more complex needs can be provided to help support every child to have a quality education.”

The new school will work with a range of different organisations who may be interested in managing its running. Organisations interested in collaboration will have until September 2019 to submit their applications to the Department for Education if they wish to be involved in the new special ed school.